How Tallwood is betting big on wood

How do we solve a problem like the housing crisis? Prefab NZ and Tallwood's Daiman Otto is betting on wood, emerging technologies and improved productivity.

New Zealand’s housing crisis has been a ubiquitous theme in recent years. During the election campaign, both major parties made the promise of more supply. After swimming to victory, the public is holding Labour to its promise of building 100,000 affordable homes.

Although it is early days, the vision is clear: ban overseas speculators from buying existing houses, collaborate with Housing New Zealand to stop the state houses sell off and establish the affordable housing authority through the Kiwibuild programme. Broadly, the government wants more supply, meaning more weight on the shoulders of the construction industry.

Productivity levels are also looking like a wet sock. According to a recent Branz report, productivity in the construction sector hasn’t improved in the last 20 years and most agree Auckland needs to double the amount of new homes being built to meet demand. Bids to fix the housing crisis feels like the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, which begs the question – how can we expect efficient, affordable delivery on housing?

Daiman Otto thinks it could be through a combination of old and new. Otto is a board member of Prefab NZ as well as co-founder of Tallwood, a startup that combines the traditional material of wood with cutting-edge technology to construct buildings both big and small.

”New Zealand is certainly ready for change, and there are massive pressures on scaling up and doing so affordably,” he says. And that pressure is leading to some radical thinking and innovation – at least “on the fringes”. More >>


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